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A brief history of the Nigerian Navy and how they are ranked – Local

The Nigerian Navy became a full-fledged Navy in 1959 only after Queen Elizabeth granted permission for the force to use the title ‘Royal Nigerian Navy.’

Three years after Nigeria’s independence, the title was changed to ‘Nigerian Navy’ in 1963 when the country became a republic.

Nevertheless, that was not the beginning of the Nigerian Navy.

History has it that the Nigerian Navy owes its origin to the Nigerian Marine. The Nigerian Marine, on the other hand, was formed in 1914 after the amalgamation of the then Northern and Southern Nigeria.

But before the amalgamation, what became the Nigerian Marine had expanded to become the Southern Nigerian Marine in 1893.

And seven years later, in 1900, the Northern Nigeria equivalent was formed…only to be amalgamated in fourteen years’ time.

It is important to note that the then responsibilities of the Marine included administration of the ports and harbours, dredging of channels, , and lighting.


Nigerian Navy

(Nigerian Navy)

However, it was not until 1956 that a policy statement was made by the government for the establishment of the Nigerian Naval Force. 

The NNDF would begin operation on the June, 1st, 1956 with eleven assorted ships and crafts which comprised of two survey vessels, two training boats, one patrol craft, three VIP boats, one tug and one general purpose launch.

After the very first naval legislation was passed in August, 1st, 1956 by the House of Representatives, it was later assented by the then Governor General, Sir James Robertson on the September, 5th 1956. This naval legislation was titled the Nigerian Navy Ordinance.

The constitutional task of the Navy would be expanded in 1964. And the new law, which is known as the Navy Act of 1964, tasked the Navy with the “naval defence of Nigeria.”

Other tasks assigned to the Navy by the 1964 Act were essentially coast guard duties, namely: assisting in the enforcement of Customs laws, making hydrographic surveys, and training officers and men in naval duties.



(Scan news)


In addition, the Nigerian Navy provides assistance with enforcing pollution laws, fishery protection, bunkering laws, immigration and Customs laws. They also enforce all international and national maritime laws that are agreed to or ascribed to by Nigeria.

Here are the ranks of the Nigerian Navy

There are seven ranks in the Nigerian Navy for non-commissioned officers. They are listed below:

  1. Warrant Chief Petty Officer

  2. Chief Petty Officer

  3. Petty Officer

  4. Leading Rating

  5. Able Rating

  6. Ordinary Rating

  7. Trainee

There are 12 ranks in the Nigerian Navy for commissioned officers. They are listed below from top to bottom:

Nigerian Navyplay

Nigerian Navy

(UNN info)


  1. Admiral of the Fleet

  2. Admiral

  3. Vice-Admiral

  4. Rear Admiral

  5. Commodore

  6. Captain

  7. Commander

  8. Lieutenant Commander

  9. Lieutenant

  10. Sub-Lieutenant

  11. Acting Sub-Lieutenant

  12. Mid-Shipman

ALSO READ: How soldiers are ranked and ways to identify them




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